Several years ago, we began the transition toward buying less of the “disposable” paper stuff. Needed to lower our expenses, so we could pay our bills + work on paying down our debt. At this same time, we cancelled our weekly trash pickup, too.
Everything we used to “throw away” was now separated into recycle, burn, or trash piles. When we first started, we’d have enough trash stuff for Mike to load up the truck and drive to the dump every 3 months. Then it was every 6 months. And now it is once a year! This was a huge blessing on two counts: 1) the price per truckload at the dump has risen EACH TIME, and 2) Mike DESPISES going to the dump, lol. Both of these were big motivators for us to remain diligent in reducing the “trash” pile. 🙂
Decided to cut up our old t-shirts…the ones with stains & holes – and use them for the same thing we used to do with kleenex and paper-towels. (Yeah, this is the same girl who just did a post about admiring old hankies – but that was TO LOOK AT, not keep one in my pocket all day, lol…) I wasn’t real keen on the thought of old-fashioned handkerchiefs (AT FIRST). In fact, they kind of grossed me out a little. So, the idea was born about making single-use but re-usable rags. Fashioned one of our kitchen drawers to be a “rag drawer”, and filled it with squares of t-shirt pieces.
Attached a basket to the wall in our basement stairwell where we throw our dirty rags and they get thrown in the wash with our other laundry.
Once we got into the new routine, it has been smooth sailing! 🙂
My goodness, I know we’ve saved a TON of money by not buying kleenex – we used to go through a box a week, easy! And, the rags are soooo much softer than tissues. In fact, we often DO carry our rags in our pockets now – yeah, JUST LIKE HANDKERCHIEFS, lol! Hmmm, what a good idea… 🙂
They are also great for kitchen clean-up. If there’s a spill or something I don’t want to use my crocheted dishcloth on, I just use a rag or two or three… If it’s something super yucky, I don’t feel guilty at all about throwing the rag in the burn pile, because I know we are blessed with an overabundance of future t-shirt rags – even plenty to share! 🙂
Do we still have rolls of paper towels? Yes, but that’s only because my dad bought us two packs of 15 rolls three years ago. According to my estimates, we use not quite 2 rolls A YEAR! His gift oughta last us another 8 years, minimum, lol. 🙂
The dark-colored rags usually go next door to be used in our dairy. (Makes it easy to tell which rags go where once they’ve been washed. (Or is that more of my control freakishness shining through…?) When we have enough dirty rags for a load, we wash them with homemade lye soap. Works great! 🙂
Our old, holey socks are also cut-up & have functions post foot-life. Top half works great for general cleaning & for a cotton ball substitute.
Bottom half, which never lies flat, gets thrown in a shoebox for the 3 boys to use in the garage. These are “disposable” rags for stuff like wiping up oil, paint, or other outside messes. They end up in the burn pile. 🙂
This paperless oddity has led to some funny conversations when new friends visit with us. “Where’s your trash can?” is answered, “Um, what kind is it – burnable, recyclable, or trash?” And “Could I have a kleenex?” leads to strange-but-polite-looks as we explain our single use/re-usable rags… 🙂
My 3 boys like to tease me about how much MORE money we could save by not buying toilet paper anymore, lol – but unless someone else takes over laundry duty, this lady’s gotta draw the line somewhere!! 🙂